‘Cheers’ Actor John Ratzenberger Fears America’s Shortage of Skilled Labor Workers and Tradesmen

by Will Shepard

John Ratzenberger is best known for his role as Cliff Clavin on the popular show Cheers. He is one of the most successful actors of all time with regards to the box office success of his work.

Yesterday, May 5, was National Skilled Trades day. For many across the U.S., this is a celebration of blue-collar laborers.

Consequently, John Ratzenberger decided to join Fox Business to share his views on the current status of tradesmen in America. His opinion about the status of blue-collar workers is echoed by many. However, many others feel the complete opposite way to the actor. Nonetheless, it is a touchy subject in the U.S.’s current atmosphere.

Stuart Varney made where he stands on laborers clear. He posed a question to John Ratzenberger, asking if the actor thinks that there are enough skilled workers in the U.S. economy.

The Cheers star responded in agreement. “No. You can throw all the money you want at the infrastructure. But, nobody is showing up to weld the bridges or pound nails because we canceled shop classes 30-40 years ago.”

John Ratzenberger Believes That People Are Not Being Given an Opportunity to Learn Trade Skills

John Ratzenberger continued, “We never gave young people a taste of what it would be like to work in those jobs. Now with the pandemic, a lot of skilled tradesmen have retired. The trucking industry, for instance, they’re desperate for drivers.”

He gave another example, citing how RV companies will pay good money for you to move to their company and learn to inspect and work on an RV.

Varney then pointed out that skilled laborers make a good living. He said that they are paid exceptionally well. The Cheers actor agreed with him. He also added that most blue-collar workers don’t have student loans hanging over their heads.

John Ratzenberger followed that up by trying to explain the lack of tradesmen coming into the U.S. economy. He reiterated that younger people were never shown what it was like to work with their hands. Again, he pointed to shop classes when he was in school.

So, how do you feel about these comments? Do you agree with his sentiments about skilled labor workers or disagree with his point of view?

Regardless of whether or not you agree with the actor’s opinion on skilled laborers, there is a trend emerging in the U.S. that reflects the idea they are talking about. It is an unfortunate fact, but there is indeed a lack of tradesmen in America.

Judy Woodruff is a managing editor and broadcaster for PBS. She echoed a similar viewpoint about skilled laborers.

“There’s a shortage of skilled tradespeople throughout the U.S. economy, a persistent problem that started well before the pandemic.” She continued, “But, given high unemployment, it is an important time to explore what’s behind that gap and what can be done about it.”

So, what can be done about the skilled labor shortage?